Category Archives: Movie Hosts

RETURN OF THE FLY (1959) ON THE TEXAS 27 FILM VAULT

*** FEATURING A MAJOR MILESTONE IN THE SHOW’S HISTORY ***

Morning Breath

Morning Breath

BEFORE MST3K THERE WAS … THE TEXAS 27 FILM VAULT!

In the mid-1980s The Texas 27 Film Vault was the show to watch on Saturday nights to see “Film Vault Technicians First Class” Randy Clower and Richard Malmos show and mock bad and campy movies preceded by episodes of old Republic serials. Machine-gun toting Randy and Richard would also have comedic sci-fi adventures before and after commercial breaks. 

Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of this neglected cult series via my research into really old newspapers, my interview with Randy Clower and recollections from my fellow fans of this show. Keep those emails and comments coming “Vaulties”. Here’s another review of a movie shown when a date can be verified.  

EPISODE ORIGINALLY BROADCAST: Saturday August 9th, 1986 from 10:30pm to 1am.  * Special thanks to my fellow T27FV fan Spearman for the date.

Atom Man vs SupermanSERIAL: Before the movie an episode of the 1950 Columbia serial Atom Man vs Superman was shown. Kirk Alyn starred as Superman with Lyle Talbot as his archenemy Lex Luthor. Lex has his own secret identity in this serial – each episode he dons a lead mask and oversees the villainy as “Atom Man”.

This was one of the liveliest and most campily watchable serials of the 50s. Especially laughable are the bits when Superman “flies” – an effect achieved by switching from live footage of Kirk Alyn to INSERTED CARTOON FOOTAGE of Superman flying. Think of the ‘Toons in Roger Rabbit interacting with the live backgrounds and you have the idea.   

FILM VAULT LORE: The previous week our boys of the Film Vault Corps (“the few … the proud … the sarcastic”) had shown The Story of Mankind, another film with this episode’s interview subject: THE Vincent Price. Like this week’s showing of Return of the Fly it was used to promote Randy and Richard’s upcoming public appearance at the Dallas debut of David Cronenberg’s remake of The Fly. (More on that public appearance after the movie review) Spearman also tells me this August 9th episode also featured R&R’s interview with Vincent Price.

THE MOVIE: Return of the Fly is a black and white sequel to the Continue reading

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TEXAS TWENTY-SEVEN FILM VAULT: THIRTY-SECOND ANNIVERSARY

Happy Anniversary to The Texas Twenty-Seven Film Vault, one of the pre-MST3K Movie Host shows. Yes it was Saturday night February 9th, 1985 that this program debuted in Dallas, Texas, in the same studio that would later be used for Joe Bob’s Drive-In. Here is an encore presentation of my EXCLUSIVE 2011 interview with Randy Clower, one of The Texas Twenty-Seven Film Vault‘s co-creators and co-hosts. 

Clower (right) with co-host Richard Malmos as “Film Vault Technicians First Class” on The Texas 27 Film Vault

Before MST3K there was THE TEXAS 27 FILM VAULT! Before Joel and Mike lovers of bad movies had Randy and Richard! Before Pearl there was Laurie Savino! Before Devil Dogs, Observers and Deep 13 there came Cellumites, giant rats and Level 31.

In the mid 1980s The Texas 27 Film Vault was the show to watch on Saturday nights for wry mockery of Golden Turkeys preceded by episodes of vintage Republic Serials like Radar Men From The Moon and Canadian Mounties vs Atomic Invaders.    

The Texas 27 Film Vault is one of the great unsung Movie Host shows of the 1980s and I was thrilled to get this exclusive interview with Randy Clower, co-star and co-creator of this legendary cult show from the Dallas/ Fort Worth area. “The Film Vault Guys” as they were often called by us fans, or “Vaulties”,  established the pattern that a few other Movie Hosts have since followed. Continue reading

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CHRISTOPHER COFFIN: THEATER OF THRILLS RECONSTRUCTION BY O LYTLE HOOVER

christopher coffin

… … “Christopher Coffin”

Special thanks to O Lytle Hoover for contacting me and letting me know about this labor of love at his Youtube channel!

Christopher Coffin (Reed Farrell) hosted Theater of Thrills in Michigan in the 1960s. O Lytle Hoover DIRECTED that late-night Movie Host show and drew on his personal experience to “reconstruct” a Theater of Thrills episode at his Youtube Channel.

FOR MY ORIGINAL ARTICLE ON CHRISTOPHER COFFIN CLICK HERE 

FOR O LYTLE HOOVER’S VIDEO, SEE BELOW: Continue reading

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CHRISTMAS-TIME TURKEYS WITH THE TEXAS 27 FILM VAULT

Randy Clower and Richard Malmos of The Texas 27 Film Vault (both lower right) featured in a Movie Host article with Stella from Saturday Night Dead and Elvira.

Randy Clower and Richard Malmos of The Texas 27 Film Vault (both lower right) featured in a Movie Host article with Stella from Saturday Night Dead and Elvira.

Regular readers of Balladeer’s Blog know The Texas 27 Film Vault was a great pre-MST3K bad movie show from the mid-1980’s. The hosts Randy Clower and Richard Malmos (also the co-creators of the program) were members of the fictional quasi-military outfit called the Film Vault Corps – “the few, the proud, the sarcastic”. Ken Miller, who played the gung-ho Kilgore-esque Tex on the show was also a co-creator. Tragically Miller commited suicide in 1988.   

The Texas 27 Film Vault aired for 2 and 1/2 hours every Saturday night from 10:30pm to 1:00 am with Randy, Richard, Tex, Joe The Hypnotic Eye Riley and Laurie Savino the Mystery Clip Technician showing and mocking episodes of old Republic and Columbia serials before showing and mocking the night’s bad or campy movie.

Texas and Oklahoma loved this cult show and it’s rare for Longhorns and Sooners to agree on anything! Here’s a look at the Christmas and New Year’s themed episodes of The Texas 27 Film Vault

To All A Good nightTO ALL A GOOD NIGHT (1980)

Original Broadcast Date: December 28th, 1985

Serial: Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe (1940) 

Host Segments: A look at Christmas-themed horror films. 

Movie: To All a Good Night features Jennifer Runyon AND Harry Reems of all people. A slasher in a Santa Claus costume kills several co-eds as well as the inept cops who come to protect them. High body count but many of the killings are lit too poorly to see clearly plus one character goes nuts and literally just does a ballet dance for the final 15 or so minutes of the movie. Alex Rebar of The Incredible Melting Man fame wrote the screenplay and The Last House on the Left‘s David Hess directed.  

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SEVEN MOST INFLUENTIAL MOVIE HOSTS LEADING TO MST3K

Mad Marvin

Mad Marvin

Regular readers of Balladeer’s Blog are familiar with my fondness for bad movies and for movie host shows. 

Here is a salute to some of the most influential figures who made hosting bad and/or weird movies the time-honored American folk art it is today. This list features hosts who had crossover appeal into the culture at large or broke ground in the “so bad it’s good” element.

7. MAD MARVIN (Real name: Terry Bennett)

Program: Shock Theatre

Run: 1957 – 1959

Home Base: Chicago

Comment: Long before Jerry Bishop’s more well-known host Svengoolie and his even more famous “son” played by Rich Koz, Mad Marvin brought late-night b-movie fun to the Windy City. Marvin was a mad beatnik and was described in contemporary accounts as ” a combination of Charles Addams, Ernie Kovacs and Jack Paar.”

Bennett’s program was so popular in Chicago that celebrities like Sammy Davis, Jr, Jerry Lewis and Burt Lancaster made guest appearances. Terry’s wife Joy appeared on the show as “Dear”, and also joined him in co-hosting the Mad Marvin spin-off show The Shocktail Party.
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TEXAS 27 FILM VAULT 3D POSTER (1987)

FILMVreducedRegular readers of Balladeer’s Blog are familiar with my fondness for Movie Host shows of the past and my EXCLUSIVE interview with Randy Clower of the mid-1980s program The Texas 27 Film Vault has proven to be a very popular item on this blog.

Randy and his cohost Richard Malmos, playing machine gun- packing Film Vault Technicians First Class, would show and mock bad and campy films from decades ago and were a huge hit when they were on the air. I feel they get neglected in this age of renewed interest in older Movie Host programs. 

The poster also sports features from some of the most popular bad movies Randy and Richard dissected on the program – features like flying brains from the movie Fiend Without A Face, a prop from the Bela Lugosi bomb Devil Bat, Hitler’s disembodied head from the enjoyably awful movie They Saved Hitler’s Brain, an invader from Earth vs the Flying Saucers and much more! Put on your 3D glasses and you can spot all of the hidden items including elements from Gorilla at Large, Just Imagine,  Frontier Marshal, the 1961 film The Mask and other T27FV fan favorites. Continue reading

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HIGH SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL (1958): TEXAS 27 FILM VAULT

High School Confidential

High School Confidential

Before MST3K there was The Texas 27 Film Vault!

Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of this neglected cult show from the 1980s. Randy Clower, Richard Malmos, Ken “Tex” Miller and Joe “The Hypnotic Eye” Riley played machine-gun toting members of the fictional Film Vault Corps (“the few, the proud, the sarcastic”) who would show and mock bad and campy movies preceded by episodes of old Republic serials. They would also have comedic sci-fi adventures before and after commercial breaks.

ORIGINALLY BROADCAST: Saturday September 7th, 1985 from 10:30pm to 1:00am.

SERIAL: Before the movie our Film Vault Technicians First Class showed and mocked a chapter of Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe (1940).

FILM VAULT LORE: Randy Clower at E-Gor’s site on Texas 27 Film Vault groupies: “We were a bit wild during that time and having a cult show on late at night opened a few doors around the Dallas area which we were all more than willing to go through and explore.” 

THE MOVIE: High School Confidential has a well-deserved reputation as one of the campiest Juvenile Delinquency films of the 50s and 60s. Some of the fun comes from the hilariously heavy-handed anti-marijuana messages sprinkled throughout the Continue reading

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